Death knell for prosumers?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Rich, Dec 2, 2006.

  1. Rich

    Rich Guest

    Real prosumer cams are long gone. The magnesium-bodied Olympus and
    Nikons have been replaced by plastic so the "bridge camera" quality
    aspect is gone.
    You can now buy an Olympus (in Europe) E-400 or a Nikon D40 and an
    18-200mm zoom that creates a package nearly as portable as most
    prosumers, smaller than some. Apart from live LCD and video, why use a
    Prosumer now? The image quality boost alone justifies the jump to a
    DSLR and apparently even uninitiated consumers agree as DSLR sales are
    flying.
     
    Rich, Dec 2, 2006
    #1
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  2. Rich

    Hoogy Guest

    Are they made of plastic and will the body distort whilst using a
    telephoto lens?

    Is this post another rich one?

    Hoogy
     
    Hoogy, Dec 2, 2006
    #2
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  3. Rich

    Mike Russell Guest

    When legacy glass goes so will DSLR's. I think the next big jump in optics
    will be to abandon the flat film plane for integrated non-planar sensor
    optics. The only reason for a flat plane is historical - so that film could
    be economically manufactured and wound in a roll. While it's true that the
    machining tools for chips are planar, this need not be the case. Silicon
    can be made into spherical shapes, and the fabrication equipment, being
    optical, is not limited to a planar configuration. Three integrated sensors
    could capture full rez RGB.

    Don't worry though, it will be a few years off. But when it happens, we'll
    have non-planar variable resolution lenses that will be able to do things
    that are not currently possible. For example, constant resolution optical
    zoom, random pixel layout (copying the retina's layout to eliminate moiré
    once and for all), variable resolution fisheyes, with more pixels around the
    edges for a constant rez pano wrap.
     
    Mike Russell, Dec 2, 2006
    #3
  4. Rich

    Rich Guest

    I'd agree with you. If the cost and complexity of making a curved
    sensor isn't too much,
    then it would free-up much optical design possibilities. Even Canon
    wouldn't have to join the 21st century and start making telecentric
    lenses!
     
    Rich, Dec 2, 2006
    #4
  5. You must know something that I do not. Camera sensors are fabricated on
    flat wafers.
     
    Charles Schuler, Dec 2, 2006
    #5
  6. Rich

    Mike Russell Guest

    [re curved image sensors]
    They are now, but they are only flat because they happen to be machined that
    way, and that was more a function of the fact that electronics does not care
    so much about topology, and a flat shape makes more efficient use of the
    silicon blank.

    Existing optical techniques could be used to machine a silicon blank into a
    concave spherical surface.Although existing fabrication methods would need
    to be adapted, the fabrication process of masking and depositing may be
    intrinsically easier for a spherical surface than a planar one.

    Once you walk away from the planar surface, all kinds of simplifications are
    possible. The cosine and cosine squared factors drop out of the optical
    equation, Most forms of spherical aberration simply go away and you may
    find that a one or two element lens can do the job of a much more complex
    planar based lens. A larger sensor could have specialized sections that
    could be rotated into place. For example, a non-Bayer sensor for monochrome
    images, several flavors of IR only sensors, and so on.

    Higher order curves would also be possible, but the first such sensors will
    be spherical because it will still be more economical to carve multiple
    sensors from a single piece of silicon.

    Once lenses are integrated with their sensors, the camera as we know it will
    serve as a power source, data organizer, electronic viewfinder (since SLR's
    are inherently planar devices), and image stabilizer.
     
    Mike Russell, Dec 2, 2006
    #6
  7. Of course they are. What he meant is that this is not a god-given.
    You got a big crystal (about 300 to 400 Kg) and cut and polish
    it into any shape(s) you like.
    You'd need a spherically shaped blade for it. Any irregular (i.e.
    aspheric and non-cylindrical) form needs to be ground out in a second
    step, wasting valuable silicon and making it expensive.
    At that point it's a matter of shaping glass versus shaping the sensor.
    Glass is much cheaper than silicon, so the benefit must be really big
    in order to justify the investment.

    What I'm hoping for is circular sensors. The projected image is round, I'm
    cropping anyway, and with a round sensor I can hold the camera in the "normal"
    position every time. Plus I never have to worry about a horizontal horizon
    anymore because all that is done during post processing.
    If the pixes are set in a spiral that would get rid of the moire too,
    wouldn't it?

    Hey, what a bout a totally circular camera? No rectangular body, controls
    along the rotational axis, you hold it like a big monocular.

    Lots of Greetings!
    Volker
     
    Volker Hetzer, Dec 2, 2006
    #7
  8. The silicon ingot is withdrawn from molten silicon by using a rotating seed
    crystal. The ingot is approximately round and a diamond saw is used to
    slice thin wafers, from the ingot. The wafers are approximately round and
    not all that flexible.

    The dendrtic crystal growth process, thus far not a commercial success, can
    produce more flexible silicon substrata but sadly not for photo sensors in
    digital cameras (in fact, sadly for no practical production).

    It's good to dream and speculate ... that's were the new stuff originates.
    In this case, I'd say quite a few years.

    However, organic semiconductors are not sliced from ingots and can indeed be
    almost any shape. Sadly, in this case too, I'd say quite a few years.
     
    Charles Schuler, Dec 2, 2006
    #8

  9. A few years ago a company (I think they called themselves
    Ball Semiconductor) was pushing this technology. But AFAIK
    it went nowhere.

    Think of all the processing gear that would need to be
    retooled.

    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
     
    Raphael Bustin, Dec 2, 2006
    #9
  10. Rich

    ASAAR Guest

    But . . but . . sensors won't always have to be sliced from pure
    silicon crystals, he sputtered.
     
    ASAAR, Dec 2, 2006
    #10
  11. There's a big big infrastructure, both in R&D know-how and in
    manufacturing machinery, devoted to making planar structures on flat
    silicon wafers. The flat part is important; for just one example,
    consider the problem of photoresist coating when spin-coating no longer
    works.

    It's the kind of problem that's solvable, but since the semiconductor
    industry has poured umpteen billion dollars into solving the problem for
    flats, sensor suppliers can leverage that expertise. Go to something
    qualitatively different, and there's a lot of money that will have to be
    spent to get it to work.

    -dms
     
    Daniel Silevitch, Dec 3, 2006
    #11
  12. Rich

    bmoag Guest

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
    If a sensor is curved then all lenses, regardless of focal length, will have
    to focus on that same spherical surface.
    Hence compromises in design analagous to those for flat plane sensors would
    be required for interchangeable lenses.
    The future may not look like anything one is familiar with now.
    Just as rollable/flexible displays are nearly a reality a deformable
    substrate for the imaging sensor is technically possible.
    Hence the future of lens technology is more likely to be a hybrid of
    glass/plastic, liquid polymer and algorithmic software correcton; this could
    be mated to an flexible imaging sensor that can be shaped to a specific
    need. Focus and effective focal length may not depend on a rigid arrangement
    of transparent glass or plastic elements as in the current design paradigm,
    which dates back to at least Galileo.
    Refractive distortion as light squeezes through the small apertures of short
    focal length lenses is an immutable physical property of light. Nearly
    everything else is subject to negotiation.
     
    bmoag, Dec 3, 2006
    #12
  13. Rich

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Because some of us will NOT carry a large camera, and a bag of lenses
    around. Ditch the bag, and some might carry a large prosumer
    (superzoom) around. ANY camera is pretty useless if you don't have it
    along when the photo op takes place, and the pictures produced by even a
    modestly priced P&S these days beat the hell out of no picture at all.
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 3, 2006
    #13
  14. Rich

    Alfred Molon Guest

    Live preview on a swivelable LCD is a very powerful feature. Otherwise,
    size is an issue, as all-in-one cameras can be made more compact and
    light than DSLRs.
    In fact prosumers are no longer manufactured.
     
    Alfred Molon, Dec 3, 2006
    #14
  15. Rich

    Ray Fischer Guest

    Are you still trolling?
     
    Ray Fischer, Dec 3, 2006
    #15
  16. Rich

    Bill Guest


    Yup, and he has his trusty tackle-box beside him.

    :)
     
    Bill, Dec 3, 2006
    #16
  17. Rich

    Prometheus Guest

    That would mean the sensor would have a lot of pixels that cost money to
    make and are not often used it is far cheaper to rotate the camera,
    besides cutting discs from a die would waste a lot of material which has
    to be paid for in the cost of the sensors you cut out.
     
    Prometheus, Dec 3, 2006
    #17
  18. Rich

    Ron Hunter Guest

    By whom? Kodak has several models which fall into this category.
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 3, 2006
    #18
  19. Rich

    J. Clarke Guest

    Kodak is selling a metal-bodies SLR for a low price? What's the model
    number?
     
    J. Clarke, Dec 3, 2006
    #19
  20. Rich

    Ron Hunter Guest

    Metal bodies and SLRs were NOT the subject, only 'prosumer' cameras.
     
    Ron Hunter, Dec 3, 2006
    #20
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